Saturday, June 30, 2012

June 30 - Day 70 - Back to basics

From Sonora Pass (Mile 1018.5) to campsite along East Fork Carson River (approx Mile 1024.5)

Total PCT Miles Hiked Today: 6

Pan here.

Getting a ride out of Bridgeport today was difficult, and discouraging. A rodeo in town, and lots of events connected to the town's really RED, white & blue 4th of July celebration (+ the town's sesquicentennial) meant the highway into & out of town was awash in motor homes, camper trailers, pickup trucks packed with camping gear and lugging trailers of dirt bikes, atv's, jet-skis, motor boats - plus hundreds of basic tourists in SUVs. You'd think we would be offered rides aplenty - but this town's culture doesn't really include hikers. ("Recreation" and enjoying nature in many east Sierra towns apparently can often primarily involve either ammunition or a variety of vehicles needing gasoline ... Hikers and cyclists are rare and "odd")

Eventually a section hiker named "Texas" came by ferrying hikers to town from Sonora Pass 35 miles away and stopped to tell us he'd be back to get us after he dropped the hikers off at the motel.

Wow! We'd been standing with our thumbs out for hours - and it was already 3pm. We were so relieved, since we really needed to get some miles started on the trail today.

We chipped in $20 for gas (which, in Bridgeport, goes for $5/gallon) and Texas got us up to the pass where another trail angel - Owl - had a table of fruit, cookies, cake, coolers of Coke and beer, as well as the New York Times. He called his trail magic spot the "Sonora Pass Café." Delightful!

We met up with other thru-hikers resting there - including That Guy, Helicopter, & Texas Chill.

Then we hit the trail - at 4:30 pm. Not much time - and in the next 3.5 days we need to cover 76 miles.

The trail went from the pass (9633 ft) up into the volcanic mountains above 10,500 ft then started descending through the upper valleys of the Carson River drainage. Beautiful day, lovely views, wildflowers, good trail: just what the doctor ordered to ease us back onto the PCT with peace and some rediscovered deep contentment.

We camped in a particularly beautiful glade - the river (still muscular creek size) loud in its rocky bed, hermit thrush ringing down the curtain of the day. We cooked dinner, sipped tequila, and chuckled together at the details of the day. But each of us is grateful to be back on the PCT - and grateful it treated us gently today.


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